Design

Pigmented concrete emulates sculptural stone in Gestalt furniture by Sment

Dark pigments create the illusion of precious stones in this series of geometric concrete furniture by Belgian design studio Sment.

The Gestalt collection is made up of three objects: a tall, cylindrical lamp with a carved out section that helps it gently reflect light back off the polished surface; a seat in the shape of an arch; and a low, ring-shaped table that sits on three squat feet.

Each piece is cast in a mould, with pigments added to the concrete. The material is then polished to create the stone-like final effect.

The Gestalt collection by Belgian design studio Sment

“We investigated several ways of using pigment,” Sment co-founder Jochen Sablon told Dezeen. “The combination of pigmentation with polishing leads to a surreal twist of organic patterns which reminds us of natural materials such as stone or marble.”

“This together with the basic geometrical form results in an abstract sculpture for every piece,” he said.

The Gestalt collection by Belgian design studio Sment

The aim of the project was to find a new way to present concrete as a precious material.

The lamp and the seat are solid concrete, while the table is cast around a loop of insulation material to make it lightweight enough for domestic use. It has a terrazzo bottom for additional strength.

Small, semi-circular grooves in the table’s surface divide it into thirds. The piece can also be dismantled, so that the top can be placed on its side when not in use.

The Gestalt collection by Belgian design studio Sment

Based in Vilvoorde, Belgium, Sment was founded by Sablon – who is also a practicing architect – and Frederik Bogaerts to focus on investigating the potential of specific materials.

“The research is always a balance between searching the boundaries of the material and the effective properties of the concrete itself,” said Sablon.

“By emphasising the limitations of the moulds and enlarging them [for the Gestalt collection], we kept on refining the results until they were so pure that they almost became sculptures.”

The Gestalt collection by Belgian design studio Sment

The Gestalt collection debuted at the Interieur Festival, an offshoot of Biennale Interieur 2018 in Kortrijk, Belgium in October 2018.

The festival runs until November 4 with a sprawling exhibition inside a former hospital the focuses on highlighting young talent. Designers were invited to take over existing spaces within the hospital, including surgical theatres, recovery rooms, wards and administration spaces.

The Gestalt collection by Belgian design studio Sment

Other recent experiments in creating concrete furniture include the Bus Stop Bench, part of the Life On Earth collection by Georgian design duo Rooms, which references brutalist bus stops from the 20th century.

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